Sick of smoking? Or just looking for a way to spice things up? Well, it might be time to try cooking with cannabis.
We note that the subject contained in this article represents illegal activity in certain jurisdictions. Whilst we do not condone any acts which are contrary to any such laws, we understand that readers in those jurisdictions which have decriminalised cannabis may find this article of interest.
Cooking with cannabis is a great way to get all the benefits of the plant without having to inhale harmful smoke. You could have an edible post workout to reduce inflammation, before a movie to enhance the experience, or at the end of the day to unwind.
Whatever your reason for wanting to cook with cannabis, we're here to help you out.
The reason cannabis is so effective in our bodies (for those who've been living under a rock) is thanks to something known as our ECS. ECS stands for our Endo-Cannabinoid System, which is a series of receptors that respond to… you guessed it, cannabis.
The ECS is a biological system that is in charge of many aspects of your daily life, from your sleep schedule to your ability to tolerate pain and immune system function.
A person's ECS can be split into two main receptors: CB1 and CB2. The first category are known as CB1 receptors, which coordinate many of our daily functions such as appetite, sleep, mood, memory, and how we process pain. On the other hand, CB2 Receptors focus mostly on our immune and nervous systems.
This means that while edibles may provide you with a great buzz, there are more reasons to try them than just getting high.
Through their interaction with these receptors, cannabis edibles can help to treat a number of different conditions, including insomnia, nausea, eating disorders, inflammation, and anxiety. If any of these ailments are affecting you, adding cannabis to your cooking could make a big impact.
And if you make them yourself, you'll know exactly what strain you're using, the amount, and you get to make whatever food you'd like!
So let's learn how to cook with cannabis.
Kush in The Kitchen
There are several ways to cook with cannabis, though the most popular way, by and large, is by making cannabutter.
If cannabutter is what you're after, you'll want to firstly decarboxylate your weed. This simply means heating your plant matter so that it becomes psychoactive.
To decarboxylate your weed, try to find a strain which you particularly like and buy anything from a quart to an ounce of it – depending on how potent you want your edibles to be.
From there, you need to preheat your oven to 245ºF or 118ºC. While your oven is heating, break up your marijuana into small pieces and spread them out flat on a lined baking tray. Once the oven has reached its temperature, set a timer for 30 minutes and place the tray in the oven.
To ensure the entirety of the plant is heated, give the pan a gentle shake every ten minutes until it's sufficiently golden brown and crumbles in your hand. If it's not quite ready yet, give it another ten minutes.
Once you've decarboxylated the weed, you then want to boil a liter of water and place 2-4 sticks of butter in, again depending on how much weed you've used. The more weed you put in, the more butter you'll need.
Once the butter has melted, bring the water to a simmer and place your decarboxylated plant into the mix. The longer you let the butter simmer, the more infused the cannabis will become into the mix. So we'd recommend giving it a few hours on low heat.
As you approach the end of the 3-hour wait, you'll then want to prepare a straining bowl. Line a deep bowl with a cheese-cloth and once the batch is ready, pour it in. This should leave all the plant matter behind in the cheese-cloth for you to dispose of, leaving you with pure THC melted butter.
Then all you'll need to do is let the butter cool down to room temperature before placing it in the fridge. You've now got cannabutter.
Cannabutter is usually added to baked sweets like cookies, brownies, cake or ice-cream, though you could add it to almost any recipe as a butter substitute. Alternatively, for those who are perhaps dairy intolerant, or who just don't want cannabutter, you can make cannabis oil.
To make oil, this time you'll just need a cup of coarsely ground weed that isn't decarboxylated, and a cup of either olive or coconut oil. We'd recommend using coconut oil as it has saturated fat levels of up to 80%, while olive oil only contains around 15-20%. As cannabinoids bind themselves to fat, coconut oil makes for a much better medium for edibles than olive oil.
Once you've got your weed and chosen your oil, throw them both into a saucepan or slow-cooker. Stir them together and leave them for at least three hours if you're using a saucepan, and 4-5 hours if you're using a slow cooker.
Once the timers up, strain the oil using a cheese-cloth and you've got your cannabis oil.
You can add the oil to most recipes, such as atop roast vegetables, salads, sauces… the only real limitation at this stage is your imagination.
I'll Have Mine With No High, Thanks
Edibles can be a double-edged sword. Some love them because of the longer-lasting high they provide, while others can't wait for the experience to end. In fact, marijuana edibles have led to a spike in hospitalizations due to people eating too many and freaking out.
Though no matter which side of the aisle you're on, there are limitations to having edibles. Whether you're driving, at a university lecture or at work, there are many scenarios where edibles just simply aren't suitable.
So, when you can't have THC-laden brownies, why not opt for a CBD edible?
CBD stands for cannabidiol and is one of the active compounds within the cannabis plant that's taking the world by storm.Studies are emerging linking CBD use to a wide array of benefits, such as helping with depression, nausea, eating disorders, arthritis, inflammation, and epilepsy.
Additionally, because CBD can be sourced from hemp plants, which are legal to cultivate in the U.S., hemp-derived CBD is readily available in varying degrees across all 50 states. Hemp-derived CBD is also a much more palatable compound to include in foods, as the THC levels are between 0%-0.3%, an amount that won't cause any psychoactive effects.
This means you can simply hop online, buy some CBD oil, and place a few drops into your morning coffee, atop your lunch, or in your soup for dinner. While the effects will be very subtle, dropping CBD oil into your food regularly will help you achieve and maintain the positive effects of the compound over a longer period.
In some cases, those who have consistently taken CBD oil over a week have reported an 85% improvement in the severity of their anxiety symptoms.
And while CBD snacks can be a great way to get many of the benefits of cannabis without altering your mindstate, they are also becoming very popular in cocktails.
If this sounds like a drink you want to taste, you simply need to use a few drops of CBD oil or CBD from a tincture. The only difference with a CBD tincture is that they aren't oil-based, but rather, they're alcohol-based. So while CBD oil will sit atop your cocktail, a CBD tincture will blend into the drink more seamlessly.
A Diet of Leafy Greens
Smoking rates are on the decline, while sales of organic foods and beverages continue to skyrocket. Inevitably, these two trends have fused and given birth to the bourgeoning edibles market.
As we've mentioned throughout Edibles, Extracts and Concentrates month, people are increasingly shifting towards smoke-free alternative methods of getting their cannabis. While some have turned to vaporizers, others have found edibles.
ArcView Market Research has predicted that the cannabis edibles market will reach $4.1 billion in value by 2022, with huge names like Canopy Growth, Tilray and HEXO already in the process of adding edibles to their menus. Forbes also describes edibles as the "next big thing" for pot entrepreneurs.
The beauty of edibles is that once you make them, you can take them to a picnic, before a walk or going into a theatre, and nobody will really notice. There's no pungent scent of smoke attached to you, you don't need to find a quiet alley to eat them in, and they can make any experience more exciting. For these reasons, edibles are drawing in new crowds to the cannabis space, including those that have avoided the plant in the past because they were adverse to smoke.
So if you've been avoiding weed because you hate smoking, or if you simply want to give your lungs a break, get into the kitchen and start cooking!
For those that are culinarily inept, you'll have to see if edibles are legal in your country or state, thengo pick up a treat that suits you. And if you're in Canada, the wait for edibles won't be much longer. Canada is fast approaching their legalization 2.0 – set for October 17th this year – which will see the sale of cannabis edibles becoming legal nationwide.
Until then, keep watching this space as we explore the different ways people consume cannabis this month here at The Green Fund.